If you’ve made the switch to mirrorless cameras as have many photographers, you’ve no doubt noticed that battery life isn’t nearly as good as what we enjoyed with our DSLRs. In the quick explainer below, you’ll learn several things you can do to make batteries last as long as possible before reaching for a spare.
Instructor Steve Perry is an accomplished pro, specializing in landscape, wildlife and nature imagery. In this 11-minute episode, that he calls “a must see” for every mirrorless shooter,” Perry shares his eight top tips for prolonging battery life.
Perry covers a lot of ground in this very helpful video that offers a bunch of critical advice. He discusses the best methods for measuring battery life with mirrorless cameras, and then demonstrates how to leverage this information into “realistic decisions about your power requirements in the field.”
According to Perry, “the best metric for measuring battery life is not what you think.” The common approach to evaluating power longevity is based upon an approximation of how many images you can shoot per charge. “The problem with this,” says Perry, “is that our camera just doesn’t use that much electricity to transfer an image from the sensor to your memory card.”
Perry illustrates this point with a screen shot, illustrating that the battery in his camera still has a 93% charge after shooting over 5,000 images. What? He arrived at this metric for the purposes of this demonstration by putting a 256GB card into his camera and laying on the shutter button until the card was full.
While this isn’t the way we typically go about our photography, it does prove Perry’s point. If he can capture over 5,000 shots, while exhausting barely seven percent of the battery, something other than capturing an image must be responsible for using up a lot of power—and that’s what the remainder of this surprising video is all about.
The bottom line is this: Just like a computer, “mirrorless cameras have a whole lost of stuff running in the background all the time—that we didn’t have to the same extent, or at all, with our DLSRs.” We’re not going to be a buzzkill by summarizing Perry’s findings here, because you really need to hear him describe his conclusions in detail while watching the video.
Suffice to say, there’s a whole lot you can do, regardless of your style of shooting, to minimize battery drain by following Perry’s advice. He not only reveals time-proven tips, but he will help you determine the minimum number of spare batteries you should carry for different types of excursions.
Perry’s popular YouTube channel is full of great tips and tricks like you’ll find here, so be sure to pay a visit whenever you have time.
We also recommend watching a tutorial we posted earlier from another experienced pro, explaining how to check a lens if your photos aren’t sharp.